Code as Art / as Speech

code_smI am an artist. Can I paint, sculpt, or draw? Not really. When I do these things, what comes out would require a lot of interpretation on behalf of the viewer. No, my artistry comes out as I write computer code. With eDOT, the software I program expresses what it is I want to say to this world. It is reflective of my beliefs, my opinions, and my values. It relates to others what I feel.

Currently, Apple is fighting a court order asked for by the FBI to write code that goes against their values and belief. The basis of their argument is that being asked to write this code is “coerced speech”, or that it is forcing them to publicly state something that goes against that for which they stand. As an American, I have grown up with a deep value that we are entitled to the freedom of speech – the freedom to express our beliefs and values. Apple’s appeal is that by forcing them to write code contrary to their ethos, the US Government is denying them their right to freedom of speech. In other words, Apple says that their code is speech and that to force them to say otherwise within the US denies the rights given them by the US Constitution.

Art has always been viewed as a way of expressing one’s beliefs, and it has been repeatedly protected by the U.S. Const. amend. I (Freedom of Speech Amendment). Coding is an art form. My hope through this whole debate is that people view coding not as some cold, calculated instruction list, but as the creative expression of those by whom it was created – that coding is recognized as another form of art in this technological age.

Would you like to be an artist on our team? We’re looking for coders and other technology artists.